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DON’T KNOCK THE TWIST (director: Oscar Rudolph; screenwriter: Robert E. Kent; cinematographer: Gordon Avil; editor: Jerome Thoms; cast: Chubby Checker (Himself), Gene Chandler (The Duke of Earl), Vic Dana (Himself), Linda Scott (Himself), Carroll Brothers (Themselves), The Dovells (Themselves), Lang Jeffries (Ted Haver), Mari Blanchard (Dulcie Corbin), Georgine Darcy (Madge Albright), Stephen Preston (Billy Albright); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sam Katzman; Columbia Pictures; 1962)
“A dud.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Oscar Rudolph directs this less than memorable sequel to his 1961 “Twist Around the Clock.” It’s produced by Sam Katzman, known for making low-budget exploitation quickie films that all turn a profit. It stars Chubby Checker at the height of his short-lived fame. It’s one of many films at the time trying to cash in on the twist dance craze sweeping the country in the 1960s.

The thin plot has NYC’s GBC television special programming executive Ted Haver (Lang Jeffries) ordered by the station president to prepare a twist spectacular in a month, to be presented two weeks before its TV rival puts on a twist show. Ted turns to the popular twister Chubby Checker for help in putting a show together. The plot is merely an excuse for a lot of twisting and shouting acts. The entertainers lined-up include Vic Dana, Gene Chandler, Linda Scott, The Carroll Brothers, and The Dovells.

Ted vacations for a weekend with his materialistic-minded fashion designer fiancée Dulcie Corbin (Mari Blanchard) and discovers the brother and sister act of twisters, Billy and Madge Albright (Stephen Preston & Georgine Darcy). Ted not only goes for Madge’s dancing, but finds her attractive and nicer than his lady. He signs her up to do the “Salome Twist” on the spectacular, and the jealous Dulcie designs an inappropriate skimpy costume and tips off the newspapers. This nearly puts an end to the show, until Madge’s followers from the Orphans’ Summer Camp, where Madge does charity work for, rally to her defense. The TV show is a smash, but the movie is a dud. It left me feeling energetic enough to twist away from all the music (noise!) and wonder why this fad craze once had a hold on the American pop culture scene.

REVIEWED ON 12/31/2006 GRADE: C-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”